If you are a B2B seller using the phone and email to connect with prospects and only calling on the C-suite, I'd like to ask you to stop calling high for just a moment and consider broadening your reach.
I've been in your shoes, working to reach top executives in hundreds, even thousands of companies over the years. In one position my preferred contact was Chief Financial Officers. I called and emailed for them all day long, every day for weeks and weeks. I reached very few.
The problem is that C-level folks are very difficult to connect to. It is a bit easier today with more and better tools to help determine when to reach out, and with newer strategies like using InMail - LinkedIn's version of email which receives a better response than traditional email.
In the position I mentioned earlier I ended up calling investor relations people who are much easier to reach. I still worked to reach the CFO but also broadened my reach and had multiple contacts within a single prospect company.
Why Broaden Your Reach?
You can learn so much from people who ARE reachable! If you are making effort to reach people and never reaching them, you are not talking to anyone in the prospect company. How is that working for you?
Call wider - find an administrative assistant who can fill you in. They don't have to be in the c-suite either - a good admin is well-connected to other admins and to executives.
Call wider - find a manager or VP who can share insight which will give you more ideas on how to reach your executive level contacts.
Recently I've talked to a couple of sales reps who only target C-level people and these reps could be calling others in the companies they are reaching out to.
Because of their exclusive target, they go a long time before reaching anyone to talk to.
After humoring me with a "trial" outreach program to see if they'd be effective, BOTH reps gained appointments with their target, the CIO, only they did it through lower level connections. One rep tripled her meetings and the other doubled his.
They got creative and reached out through a multi-faceted strategy. They also cobbled together an inbound marketing strategy which already is gaining them visibility on the web. Good outbound calling tied in with a smart inbound marketing program is a great combination to grow sales opportunities.
Don't Make it So Hard on Yourself
Calling and calling and calling with no one answering is a dire situation. In addition to prospecting, you also need to practice your craft, which talking is a part of.
You will feel better if you talk to more people - even though they are not all part of the buying team. Look to learn when you get someone responding to your email or get someone on the phone. Keep calling high - just don't do it exclusively if you want to master your craft of actual communication with prospective companies.
Plus you can back it up with facts. The Outbound Index Report created by The Bridge Group and AG Salesworks showed in it's April Index that "prospecting to directors and managers converts to pipeline" and that "it's not all about the c-suite."
Finally, this strategy will make the day pass by quicker. Wouldn't you rather talk to people than not?
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.
Image credit: picsfive / 123RF Stock Photo